Give Me Pink Sky and Wi-Fi

Chad Terhune, it means having a chance to live where he wants to and still conduct business on a national level – via telecommuting. By Jason Dehart
Give Me Pink Sky and Wi-FiAward-winning business journalist Chad Terhune leaves behind the Atlanta skyline for East Point’s easy livingBy Jason Dehart

In today’s world, being “out in the woods” doesn’t mean being out of touch. For Chad Terhune, it means having a chance to live where he wants to and still conduct business on a national level – via telecommuting.

forgotten-terhune.jpg“The technology and attitude among managers has made working remotely more possible today,” says Terhune, 36, a Floridian from Gainesville who is now a senior writer for BusinessWeek magazine. Before his current position, the University of Florida graduate and award-winning writer was a reporter for The Wall Street Journal for 11 years. In that time he covered companies such as Home Depot and Coca-Cola and major events such as Hurricane Katrina. Today, he says his beat is “wide open” but one area he likes to write about is health care.

When he advanced to his new position, Terhune started working from his home office in Atlanta, but then decided he could do better. Recently he and his family left the noise and crowds of the big city for the quieter bay life of the Forgotten Coast – specifically, Eastpoint on Apalachicola Bay. They moved down in July.

Terhune says his wife, B.J., also is a native Floridian – from Port St. Lucie – and so they had often discussed coming back to Florida.

“My family and I had vacationed on St. George Island the past several years, and we fell in love with this area during those visits,” he says. “We began discussing a move last year and looked at many areas across the country, even on the West Coast, but Florida kept calling us back."

There are certain drawbacks to living in a small town noted mostly for its oyster fishing, but neither he nor his family seem to mind.

“Moving here certainly means giving up some conveniences of big-city life, like a Starbucks on every corner and running out to the Super Wal-Mart at 10 p.m.,” Terhune says. “But we’re happy to give up those things in return for the quality of life and sunsets on the water. My daughters just got their first fishing rods, and they’ve been fishing off the dock. We plan on kayaking more in the bay and going scalloping this summer. B.J. was eager to leave behind her commute in Atlanta traffic, and she plans on doing some freelance editing and exploring other opportunities.

“The area we live in has a little bit of everything,” Terhune says. “I love the history of Apalachicola and how it has retained its small-town charm for generations. St. George Island is one of the nation’s great unspoiled beaches, and all around are springs, state parks and forests for exploring. This setting reminds me of my childhood in North Florida. The bonus here is getting to eat raw oysters fresh from the bay.”

Terhune says that telecommuting may not be for every young professional. It remains very job-specific.

“I think it’s a personal decision and depends on the occupation,” he says. “Early in a career there can be benefits to being in a large office where someone can get to know colleagues, work closely with a supervisor and simply learn from watching more experienced co-workers.”

But for young professionals looking to escape the office, the Forgotten Coast is worth a look.

“I think it’s an attractive region for professionals looking for a life beyond the four walls of a cubicle,” he says.